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Pays de la Loire

The Loire Chateaux

For this first encounter with the chateaux of the Loire Valley (others will follow), invites you to discover the era which best represents the region: the Renaissance.

We decided to follow in the footsteps of the average tourist for a long trip back in time which begins at the end of the 15th century and ends in the Classical era, at the beginning of the 17th century.

Nevertheless, you should remember that this region "exists" since Neolithic time, (dolmen of Bagneux, dolmen of Mettray...), that the Roman castrom succeeded the Gallic oppidum, that there are a number of roman constructions (Fontevraud, the Abbey of St-Benoît-sur-Loire...).

There are also a number of ruins from medieval fortifications. The region was literally covered with them, (Langeais, with the oldest dungeon in France built in 990, Beaugency, Loches...).

Gothic architecture also flourished in the Loire Valley (the Cléry basilica, St-Etienne-de-Chinon).

But hey, what we wanted to see were Renaissance chateaux, and we sure must have been in the right place... they are everywhere!

Toward the end of the 15th century, military architecture became less prevalent. Fortresses began to look less austere, like stately mansions. The defense structures that remain are scarcely more than decoration; Chaumont. With Charles VIII and Louis XII, this trend became even more pronounced.

The chateaux opened themselves up to the light and the environment around them. Small towers replaced the massive corner towers; Azay-Le Rideau, the machicolations are just for show.

Finally, towers disappeared completely and the chateaux became square pavillions; Villandry. Around 1530 the Italian influence began to show itself in the interior decoration; Amboise.

At first very delicate, the architecture became more refined; the exterior took on a decidedly architectural character; Chambord. At the beginning of the 17th century, Classical architecture began to appear in the Loire Valley; Cheverny

Take Your Pick


Azay-Le Rideau












You can buy a Loire Valley "passport" that will give you reduced-price access to 10 monuments. Valid for a year.

And not to forget...  


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